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Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Friday 25 April 2014

Siren Song

Crafty Pint / 22.12.11

La-sirene-1

It’s amazing how fast word spreads when a new beer appears, especially when it appears unheralded as if from nowhere. It doesn’t hurt when the beer is of such quality that it impresses all who taste it, leading some to suggest instantly it could be the best of its style in Australia. So it was that a couple of weeks ago, every other person involved in the Melbourne beer scene who spoke to The Crafty Pint – no matter the real reason for the conversation – would end up asking: “Have you heard about this new saison?”

The beer in question comes from a Melbourne-based brewing collective called La Sirène, who operate for now gypsy style, hiring out the brewing facilities at Jamieson on Lake Eildon. It’s the brainchild of Costa, a brewing consultant who shares a love for French farmhouse beers with his media shy, microbiologist partner-in-beer James, and has been in development for more than two years.

“It’s done purely for passion,” he says. “I love these styles of beer and love to make them. We’ll stick with these styles and perhaps release three different beers over the next five years; we want to become masters of them and nail down stylistically what we want to do.”

Costa believes the key to the beer is an ancient yeast hunted down on a trip to Europe. After a series of happy coincidences, they ended up at a tiny village brewery making a saison to an old family recipe. It featured a yeast that dates back at least 400 years, according to Costa, which they brought back to Australia, where it is kept cryogenically frozen at James' place of work.

After months of development and trial batches, they still ditched the first four full length brews before declaring themselves happy with the one that’s on shelves now. Their satisfaction is with good reason too, with the first La Sirène beer a pleasure from the moment it hits the glass to when it’s lingering in the mouth. A cloudy golden pour with the fullest and lightest of foamy heads, there’s plenty going on, from big citrus and orange blossom aromas underpinned by a touch of funk, to the sweet, honey like malt flavours, a touch of tartness and a refreshingly dry finish in the mouth.

As for the name and exquisite label designed by an American artist, they reference the sirens of mythology.

“The sirens used to draw in boats because of their beauty,” says Costa. “We hope the beer’s beauty will draw in like-minded people.”

If you feel like being lured, it’s out now in 375ml and 750ml heavy duty wine bottles imported from France. You’ll find it at venues such as Cookie, Black Pearl, Gerald’s Bar, Bar Fred and Harvest Wine & Liquor.



Comments

Mat — 22 December at 01:06PM

I went into beer deluxe on Friday night looking for a Saison Dupont and the Publican directed me to this new Saison - it is exceptional and very good value - it definitely punches above its weight.

Stephen — 22 December at 08:05PM

Wow, I came across the beer at cOokie in the city, I love trying new beers that I see over the bar in the fridge, I was particularly drawn to the beautiful Packaging and label. The product didn't dissappoint , it was like drinking champagne!!! Yummo, need tO find it Ina bottle shop now sO I can enjoy it for Christmas breakfast

Dfv — 23 December at 12:03AM

Bought a couple at Carwyn and they were terrific, if a touch pricey. I have yet to see the 750ml though.

Ashton Diallo — 26 December at 03:52PM

Had a drop at Bar Fred, and was pleasantly surprised at how smooth it was and true to the saison style. Looking forward to seeing what else these guys tackle in the future.

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